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Early and Aggressive Treatment of Jaundice in Pre-Term Infants Reduces Risk of Brain Damage

Early treatment to prevent severe newborn jaundice in extremely early preterm infants reduces the infants' rate of brain injury, according to a study in the October 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Jaundice in new borns is frequently the result of high billirubin levels caused by blood incapability between the mother and the new born. If left untreated, the condition can go on to cause Kernicterus which manifests itself as blindness, hearing loss and brain damage.

The condition is easily curable before any of these conditions develop is photo-therapy is given to the new born.  There has been concern in regard to subjecting extremely premature and low birth infants to this photo-therapy because of the risk of causing other neurological damage and neurodevelopmental delays.   

The study authors concluded that, based on the study results, preterm infants weighting from 751 to 1,000 grams should be considered for aggressive treatment of bilirubinemia, as the aggressive treatment did not appear to increase the chances of death, but did appear to reduce the rate of neurodevelopmental impairment.

The brain injury lawyers at De Caro & Kaplen, LLP have successfully handled medical malpractice cases of children who developed Kernicterus and neurological damage including deafness because of the failure on the part of doctors and hospitals to administer photo-therapy.

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